That’s all folks

cheers

This is going to be my last blog post about my 2013 London Marathon adventure. It’s been emotional!

I started this blog because I wanted to capture the experience of running a marathon and fundraising for charity. I happen to have Ulcerative Colitis and Dilated Cardiomyopathy which (until now) I’d never really told anyone. I hoped that I’d raise awareness of the diseases that effect me and my family and in turn possibly help others suffering. I didn’t expect to have quite so many things to write about and would never have imagined the blog to be as popular as it has been. I have always hated the way that I write and have very little confidence in it but I would recommend blog writing to everyone, just jump in and do it!

I want to say one final massive Thank You!!! Thank you if you’ve sent me a nice message, sponsored me, asked me about the diseases, donated to the auction, cheered me along the marathon, cuddled me at the end of the marathon, hugged me when I’ve been upset or if you’re one of the thousands of people who’ve read my blog. I’ve never felt so supported in my whole life and I can’t believe the power of a blog!

The PR is still coming in and we’re hopefully going to be in some women’s magazines in the near future, so look out for us! I’m going to have a little break from silly exercise challenges and fundraising for a bit and work out how best to focus on the things I’m most passionate about when it comes to hearts: organ donation (opt out campaigning), heart screening of young people and research into turning heart disease around. I’ve enjoyed the blog so much that I’ll start a new blog soon, probably called ‘Lucy Lives Life’ – watch out for it on my social media.

Please don’t forget that when this blog’s long gone, there’ll still be young people dying of heart problems every week and there’ll be people dying while waiting for organs that are out there, just not on the donor list. Please continue to spread the word and use my family’s story as an example of how tragedy can be turned around simply by filling in an online form and telling your guardians. Today is Jack’s 3rd anniversary of his heart transplant and just writing that has made me burst into tears quite hysterically. You’ll never know how meaningful that silly organ card is until it happens to you, so please keep talking about it.

Thank you and bye for now xxx

12 hours

In 12 hours I’ll be in Greenwich waiting for the marathon to start. Crikey! It’s been a roller coaster. Back in October 2011 when I got my ballot place I decided I’d run London again in 2013. I’d done the marathon that year for Oxfam and The Brompton and raised £20k. I don’t think I could ever have imagined it turning out like this. When I wrote my blog title ‘ups and downs of my marathon journey’ I didn’t think it would be this up and down!

In October last year I encouraged Ben to sign up to London and we started training together. Every weekend we’d do our long runs together which slowly grew from 6 to 13 miles. We ran through shit loads of snow this winter and were really excited about achieving this together. We raised money through cake sales, handbag sales and an auction of promises. We’ve had an amazing amount of generous sponsors throughout our marathon.

March 8th we ran 15 miles and felt strong. March 12th I was told I couldn’t run the marathon. I didn’t know what to do with that information but within the space of a week we had a place for mum, lots more sponsorship, PR coverage secured, mum and i had walked 13 miles and Ben had done his first training run alone.

I’m not one to be openly soppy but…I am so proud of Ben. Through bad knees, bad news and bad weather he’s trained for this marathon. He’s got to get up tomorrow and run 26.2 miles with all of the amazing 30,000 other runners. When he crosses that finish line he will have achieved something absolutely amazing and I’m sad I won’t be there to hug him. But he will have his family and his Oxfamily there to look after him. Ben’s looked after me so much through all of this. He is amazing. Please look out for him if you’re cheering. He’s hard to miss at 6ft 7 with a bright green Oxfam vest on. Go Benny!

To everyone who has sent me a nice message, hugged me when I’ve been sad, walked with me, sponsored me, donated a prize to the auction, a cake or a lot of handbags (!) – THANK YOU. I feel like I have a massive group of people behind me pushing me through. Soppy but true.

Speak to you tomorrow!

A long week

This week’s been a funny one. It’s the launch of a large project I’ve been working on for the past 4 months so I’ve been really busy at work. You may have seen it: Oxfam’s launched a partnership with Nectar. Clever! I’ve been working on the auction which is on Monday. We’ve got some amazing donations and the team I’m doing it with (Amy, Janine and Alan) have written and designed amazing promo materials (see poster below right). Then there’s the marathon…on Saturday Ben had his longest run and I cycled along side him giving him sports drinks, gels etc. Then mum and I walked 21 miles on Easter Monday along with my crazy friend Corinne who came along ‘for fun’. Finally there’s all of the press interviews I’ve been doing.

Our auction poster

Our auction poster

The 21 mile walk was OK actually. It was freezing cold and stupidly windy but we got through it in 5 hours. We were proud of ourselves! Through the walk there were points where we were a little disheartened. For example when we’d walked 10 miles, 11, 12 and 13 seemed to go very slowly. I started to picture and talk about what we’d be seeing on the London marathon route at that point and how it’d be much better on the day. Secretly knowing that miles 13-18 are actually really quiet and we’ll probably get pretty bored. Anyway, we did it and we’re now confident that we can complete the marathon in 6.5-7 hours on the big day…which is less than 3 weeks away!

And the exciting news is that press teams are actually interested in my story! I had an interview with 2 newspapers this week and have another lined up for the end of the week. The first one was the Daily Mail in which I’ll feature next Tuesday. It’ll be an article covering heart conditions in young people with my story as the case study. I’m really pleased that such a large audience will read my story and hopefully understand more about heart conditions in young people and the need for organ donation sign ups. Today one of the local newspapers published my story online.

Thanks for all your support and sponsorship. It’s absolutely frickin’ amazing!

All clear!

Yesterday I visited the Royal Brompton hospital in London for my 6 monthly MRI results. This is the magical place that has looked after my brother along with the rest of my family on so many occasions.

In 2008 my brother was fitted with an ICD. Much like a pace maker, this mini internal defibrillator works to monitor heart rate. If the heart dips below a certain bpm it’ll shock it back to life. In the same year The Brompton started monitoring mine and my mum, dad and other brother’s hearts too. This was also when we started helping with research into inherited heart conditions.

In 2010 my family spent a month going back and forth to The Brompton while my brothers health was deteriorating. Whenever I visit I remember the day he was moved by ambulance to Harefield hospital where he’d later have his heart transplant. He was so ill then that he could have suffered cardiac arrest on the journey, so they whisked him through London to Harefield. What a day! Luckily he got there fine and that’s where he stayed for the next 2 months waiting for his transplant.

Sometimes people forget that heart disease is the UK’s biggest killer. These 2 hospitals work to look after those suffering with the disease and undertake ground breaking research. Hopefully you can see why it’s so important that we support these hospitals and want to fundraise as much as we can.

Yesterday I met my consultant who talked me through my most recent results (and showed me an MRI of my whole body which was in sane!). The bad news is that my heart has got weaker again but they want me to keep exercising. So much so I’m allowed to run the marathon – as long as I take it easy and watch out for certain symptoms. Wahoo! High on this news, I went and walked down The Mall to get me all pumped up for race day. It bought back memories of last time I ran the marathon and really put the fear in me!

So with the all clear and a new found fear of this 26.2 miles, it’s all about cranking up those miles and getting that fundraising pouring in. Just 12 weeks, £4.5k to raise and over 350 miles to run!

You can sponsor me and support the Brompton and Harefield here: http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/fenben